All in the game


Compiled by Mary Hannigan

Trapattoni speaks in tongues - ish

It was back in May 2008 that Giovanni Trapattoni took the Ireland squad to the Algarve for a week-long training camp, his first chance to work with the players since his appointment as manager.

Having spent time in Portugal as manager of Benfica, there was plenty of local media interest in his presence, and more than a few requests for interviews. On one occasion the Italian agreed to speak to a television reporter after a training session, and the listening Irish crew were intrigued as to what language he was speaking, particularly as the woman interviewing seemed a little puzzled herself.

“A mixture of Italian, German, Portuguese and English,” she revealed. Was she able to understand him? ‘Ish,’ was the gist of her reply.

On that note, football writer James Horncastle produced this quote from Trapattoni last week that appeared in Italian paper La Repubblica: “A sociologist has told me that I dont speak any language, but that I make myself understood in all of them.”


Alone he stands: Bodevani is some fan

Fan of the week: Arrigo Brovedani, the fella who was the sole Udinese supporter in the away section at their game against Sampdoria in Genoa.

And, as the wine merchant revealed afterwards, he was only there by chance, having had to make the 600-mile round trip from Udine to attend a business meeting.

Better still, Udinese won 2-0, although, sadly, Brovedani had no one to hug while celebrating.

Attraction of these boots is crystal clear

Still trying to decide what to get your football-playing loved one for Christmas? Here’s a suggestion, as modelled by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Saint Etienne in the warm-up for the team’s game against Lyon last week.

They’re a pair of Nike Mercurial Vapor boots, but, as you’ll have spotted, they’re no ordinary Nike Mercurial Vapor boots.

Aubameyang, as you do, hired the services of a Parisian design company to jazz the boots up a little, and they obliged, quite spectacularly, encrusting them with 4,000 Swarovski crystals and personalising them with the player’s name, shirt number, club crest and colours.

Sensibly, he opted not to wear them in the game itself, fearing, perhaps, that some of the 4,000 crystals might be dislodged while he was hoofing the ball.

So, there’s your Christmas gift idea. The cost? A snip at €3,000.

Quote of the week

"We want to stay up and we have no intention of selling our best players... but if someone sent us a fax that made us faint..." Sampdoria sporting director Pasquale Sensible, open to offers - if they leave him weak at the knees.

More quotes of the week

“You need to get consistency – and that is what we have at the minute. We are 11 points off second and that can all turn around very quickly.” Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers on Friday.

“To be honest, I didn’t see that coming.” Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers on Saturday (after that hiccup against Aston Villa).

“We have got through the first round and now its our turn to, as they say in our country, dance with the ugliest – and thats Chelsea. Monterrey coach Victor Manuel Vucetich looking forward to that Club World Cup meeting – which ended in an ugly 3-1 defeat.

“If you’ve got 100 odd caps for Germany, you’re not supposed to go to Bradford and get taken off.” Ian Wright, yet to be entirely convinced by Lukas Podolski.

“I am angry. Physically we were second best and here is the result. I want to win. We have to win. Otherwise, I am going to kill them.” Claudio Ranieri attempting to motivate his Monaco players after their 3-0 defeat to Caen.

Frustrated AEK fans stage original protest

It was way back in the dim and distant 1990s that Rangers were eliminated from the Champions League by AEK Athens, prompting gleeful Celtic fans to suggest AEK stood for ‘another early knock-out’. Tsk.

These days Rangers and AEK have a whole heap in common, both clubs trying to recover from cataclysmic financial woes that haven’t exactly boosted their footballing fortunes.

During the summer Uefa chucked AEK out of the Europa League because of their debts, the 11-time Greek champions in the red to the tune of €35 million – €23 million of it owed to the state, as if the state hadn’t enough troubles.

To add to the misery, AEK have had their worst ever start to a season, one that has left them bottom of the league – hardly surprising, though, considering they had to sell most of their squad.

All of which has proved too much for AEK supporters group, Original 21, 100 of them occupying the club’s training ground in protest. And, well, if you want an idea of how passionate they feel about it all, read this snippet from their statement:

“The very idea and club of AEK is dying. We have decided to put an end to the rape of our dreams by making this occupation. We want to put an end to the attack, the humiliation and shaming of our childhood love as a prostitute of Greek football. We now take matters into our own hands by giving an ultimatum to those who are primarily responsible for the misery of AEK.”

The search for new new investors goes on, it might speed up after that message.

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